A file photo of air travel. Photograph:( AFP )
And nearly 1.67 million people were screened at US Airport checkpoints on Sunday, according to the Transportation Security Administration, the highest number since mid-March of last year
Air travel in the US hit its highest mark since COVID-19 took hold more than 13 months ago, while European Union officials are proposing to ease restrictions on visitors to the continent as the vaccine sends new cases and deaths tumbling in more affluent countries.
The improving picture in many places contrasts with the worsening disaster in India.
In the US, the average number of new cases per day fell below 50,000 for the first time since October.
And nearly 1.67 million people were screened at US Airport checkpoints on Sunday, according to the Transportation Security Administration, the highest number since mid-March of last year.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation giving him sweeping powers to invalidate local emergency measures put in place during the outbreak.
While the law doesn't go into effect until July, the Republican governor said he will issue an executive order to more quickly get rid of local mask mandates.
"I think this creates a structure that's going to be a little bit more respectful, I think, of people's businesses, jobs, schools and personal freedom," he said.
Las Vegas is bustling again after casino capacity limits were raised Saturday to 80% and person-to-person distancing was dropped to 3 feet (0.9 meters).
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York City's subways will begin running all night again and capacity restrictions on most businesses will end statewide in mid-May.
And Los Angeles County reported no coronavirus deaths on Sunday and Monday, some of which may be attributable to a lag in reporting but was nevertheless a hopeful sign that could move the county to allow an increase in capacity at events and venues, and indoor-service at bars.
EU officials also announced a proposal on Monday to relax restrictions on travel to the 27-nation bloc this summer, though the final decision is up to its member countries.
"Time to revive EU tourism industry and for cross-border friendships to rekindle safely," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “We propose to welcome again vaccinated visitors and those from countries with a good health situation."